Man Who heads the world’s ‘largest family’ dies in India, leaving behind 39 wives and 94 children

Man Who heads the world's 'largest family' dies in India, leaving behind 39 wives and 94 children
A family photograph of the Ziona family, with a total of 181 members. Ziona Chana, 67, is at the front - Barcroft Media
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A man who married 39 wives, 94 children, 33 grandchildren and one great-grandchild and believed to be the head of the world’s largest family has died in India.

The man, known as Ziona Chana died at 76; headed a polygamous Christian religious sect that has about 4,000 members. Before his death Chana and his extended family, all lived together in one 100-room four-storied mansion in the remote village of Baktawng Tlangnuam, India. According to a report, the Christian religious sect was founded by his father.

Mr Chana, a construction worker, developed a rota system for which of his wives would share his bed on any given night, with his remaining spouses sharing a dormitory nearby.

“I consider myself a lucky man to be the husband of 39 women and head of the world’s largest family,” Mr Chana told the Daily Mirror in 2012.

The polygamist married his first wife, Zathiangi, at the age of 17, and reportedly wedded 10 of his other wives in the space of one year. His last marriage came in 2004 to a 25-year-old woman.

Man Who heads the world's 'largest family' dies in India, leaving behind 39 wives and 94 children
Ziona Chana’s four-storeyed purple mansion is called ‘Chhuanthar Run’, which means ‘The House of the New Generation’, and is home to all 181 members of the family – Barcroft Media

As his longest-standing wife, Zathiangi was given the responsibility of organising domestic chores.

Polygamy is illegal under Indian law but permitted among a few northeastern tribes.

His children and their partners lived in different rooms in the building but shared a common kitchen. The household was self-sufficient, running its own school and growing its own crops. It consumes as much as 100 kilograms of rice and 70 kilograms of potatoes every day.

As a result, his unconventional mansion has become something of a tourist attraction.

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A guesthouse had been constructed within the residence to accommodate visitors – including many from abroad.

Man Who heads the world's 'largest family' dies in India, leaving behind 39 wives and 94 children.
Mr Chana with some of his wives in his bedroom in 2011 – Barcroft Media

In 2014, the family featured in an advertisement of a leading dishwasher brand, according to the Hindustan Times, and twice appeared on the popular television show Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

“With heavy heart, Mizoram bid farewell to Ziona, believed to head the world’s largest family,” said Mizoram’s Chief Minister, Zoramthanga, who like many inhabitants of the state goes by one name.

“Mizoram and his village at Baktawng Tlangnuam has become a major tourist attraction in the state because of the family. Rest in Peace Sir!”

Doctors in Mizoram said Mr Chana died in the state capital of Aizawl after his diabetes and hypertension deteriorated.

There is some dispute as to whether Mr Chana was the head of the world’s largest family – one Canadian man has allegedly fathered 150 children.

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